When I was younger I had the pleasure to spend a few years living in Portugal and the Azores. Portuguese food is amazing; cod baked in a thousand different ways, amazing soups, and my personal favorite, chouriço or sausage.
I’ll never forget living on the Azorean island of São Miguel and being taken in by a family in a village outside the capital of Ponta Delgada. One spring morning the family invited me to help them make sausage. For an American who obtained all his meat from a supermarket, neatly butchered and wrapped in plastic, the experience was off-putting at first. Sausage involves many animal parts that I had never thought edible, including intestines for use as the sausage casings and parts of the stomach. It’s a messy process, and I have to admit I was a little apprehensive, but the finished product was delicious.
Portugal, like many of its Mediterranean relatives, excels in making sausage. There are dozens of varieties, and Portugal takes up only a corner of Europe. Feeling adventurous? Check out this excellent introduction to making a staple of Mediterranean cuisine.
Here’s a recipe for linguiça (pages 80-81) from Sausage Making: the Definitive Guide with Recipes:
|Boneless pork shoulder (or a combination of pork cuts, about 75% lean, 25% fat), cut into 1 inch cubes.||1.60 lb.|
|Diced bacon||.75 lb.|
|Boiled pork skin (See page 19)||⅓ cup|
|Port wine||1 ½ tbsp|
|Cure No. 1 (see page 15)||½ tsp|
|Cold water||¾ cup|
|Fine sea salt||2 ¼ tsp|
|Red wine vinegar||1 ½ tsp|
|Granulated garlic||½ tsp|
|Finely chopped fresh oregano||¾ tsp|
|Nonfat dry milk powder||½ cup|
|Cayenne pepper||1 tbsp|
|Hog casings, rinsed|
- Place the pork shoulder, bacon, and pork skin on a rimmed baking sheet; transfer to the freezer; and chill until crunchy on the exterior but not frozen solid.
- In a small bowl, add the port, Cure No. 1, water, salt, vinegar, granulated garlic, oregano, milk powder, paprika, cayenne, and sugar and stir to combine.
- Nest a large mixing bowl in a bowl filled with ice. Grind the pork, bacon, and skin through the small die of the grinder into the bowl set in ice.
- Add the spice mixture to the meat and stir with your hands until well incorporated; the mixture will look homogenous and will begin sticking to the bowl.
- Spoon 2 tbsp of the meat mixture into a nonstick frying pan and spread into a thin patty. Cook the test patty over low heat until cooked through but not browned. Taste the sausage for seasoning and adjust as necessary.
- Press a sheet of parchment paper or plastic wrap directly on the surface of the meat to prevent oxidation, then cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Alternatively, you can vacuum-seal the farce.
- Stuff the sausage into the hog casings and twist into links.
- Smoke the links at 170 degrees F, until the internal temperature of the sausage reaches 145 degrees F, 45 to 60 minutes. Remove the sausages from the smoker, let cool slightly, then transfer to the refrigerator and let stand, uncovered, overnight. The linguiça are then fully cooked, and can be finished on a grill or in a pan.